Cases of new infections have decreased massively
In Brazil, the number of new Zika infections has declined sharply, and life-threatening skull malformations (microcephaly) rarely occur in infants. For this reason, the Brazilian Ministry of Health has now declared that the national emergency due to the infectious disease has ended. Accordingly, there were only slightly more than 7,900 new cases in the first months of the year, compared to 170,000 new cases in the same period last year.
18 months of national emergency
The Brazilian Ministry of Health lifted the national emergency due to the Zika infection after 18 months. As the ministry currently reports, only 7,911 new infections were registered from January to mid-April. In 2016 there were 170,535 reports in the same period, which corresponds to a decrease of 95.3 percent, according to the ministry.
The cases of microcephaly have also declined dramatically since 2016. From an expert's point of view, the massive decline in infections could be due to the fact that once infected people cannot become infected again.
Monitoring or support will continue
Despite the end of the emergency, cases of known infections would continue to be investigated and aid to those affected would continue to be maintained. "The end of the emergency does not mean the end of surveillance or support," said a spokeswoman for the ministry. Zika, dengue and Chikungunya fever would be further contained. "The main thing to avoid cases of the three diseases is to control the mosquito Aedes aegypti," said the spokeswoman.
More than a million diseases
The Zika epidemic was rampant in parts of Central and South America in 2015 and 2016. Brazil was considered the most affected country, and it is estimated that over one million people were infected with the virus. In February 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global emergency, which was resolved in November last year. However, the virus was still considered a threat.
Brazil even used the military to fight the dangerous Zika mosquitoes to contain the plague. US scientists have also developed several promising vaccines against the dangerous Zika virus, which have already been successfully tested on monkeys.
Flu symptoms and skull malformations
The Zika virus (ZIKV) was first isolated from a rhesus monkey in Uganda in 1947 in a research station in Uganda. The main carrier is the Egyptian tiger mosquito (Aedes aegypti), which can also transmit yellow and dengue fever. The infection often runs without symptoms, in other cases fever, joint and headache, weakness, itchy rash and conjunctivitis appear a few days after the sting.
Scientists have also shown a connection between infections and skull malformations in babies. In so-called microcephaly, children are born with an extremely small head, which can mean brain malformations and intellectual disabilities. In addition, the virus can cause a severe nerve disorder called "Guillain-Barré syndrome". (No)